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Categories Consumer technology |

This week, Apple revealed its latest iPhones and Apple Watches, all coming this month.

Apple’s iPhone 15 models get better screens, cameras, and USB-C charging

Dynamic Island lands on iPhone 15

With the new handsets, Apple ditches Lightning charging in favour of the cable that’s standard for all other modern consumer tech: USB-C.

The base model iPhone 15, with a 6.1-inch screen, and the larger iPhone 15 Plus, with a 6.7-inch screen, also get the Dynamic Display contextual information module that appears at the top of the screen. This feature first appeared on the Pro versions of iPhone 14.

The physical appearance has changed only slightly, to give the edges a bit of rounding. The screen, meanwhile, can get to 2000 nits of brightness.

A new, 48MP camera is the best camera yet in an iPhone and includes a feature that lets you set depth and focus options after you’ve taken the photo.

iPhone 15 Pro gets significant performance boost

The premium handsets in Apple’s iPhone 15 line are made from titanium. In 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro Max versions, these have a smaller bezel enabled in part by the stronger chassis.

In addition to the USB-C charging, the most significant change is the “action button” which replaces the silent-mode switch. Now, you’ll toggle between the ring/silent modes by holding the button. It can also be configured for other actions, too, like activating the camera.

There is a 48MP main camera, a 12MP telephoto camera, and a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and combined with the new chipset, the iPhone 15 Pro devices can shoot “spatial video” that can only be viewed through Apple’s forthcoming Vision Pro headset.

In fact, the Pro handsets are powerful enough that they’ll be able to run modern video games. In the event, Apple revealed that Resident Evil Village, Death Stranding, and Assassin’s Creed Mirage will all be released on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Preorders for the new iPhones begin on September 15 and the handsets will start shipping on September 22.

  • iPhone 15, priced starting at $1,130 for iPhone 15 and $1,280 for iPhone 15 Plus
  • iPhone 15 Pro, priced starting at $1,450 for iPhone 15 Pro and $1,750 for iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 get brighter displays, new double-tap gestural control

Two new Apple Watches are arriving this month. Series 9 has enough processing power that it can provide Siri functionality on the device, instead of having to use the cloud. That means you can have the voice-activated assistant do things like start a timer or take a note even when you don’t have a connection.

The display can get up to 2000 nits of brightness and, just as importantly, can dim to only 1 nit, which is perfect for use in dark spaces where you don’t want to overwhelm with light.

And the wrist-raise and cover-to-silence gestural controls are joined by a new one: double-tap. With this, you can tap your index finger and thumb quickly, twice, to trigger an action on the watch.

The rugged, premium alternative is the Apple Watch Ultra 2, which has those same functions but can also use the outside of the display of the watch to provide information, like altitude for climbers, or depth for divers.

You can preorder the new Apple Watches now; they will be released on September 22:

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Categories Video games |

Exploring the far reaches of space with Starfield, playing Medium and Lies of P on a Mac computer.

Starfield is the legendary game we hoped for

I got my review copy of Starfield, a game I’ve been eagerly anticipating, last week, a couple of days before it became available to players who got it early.

It was Saturday before I got a chance to actually play the game because every time I turned around, my kids were playing it instead.

What a great way to spend the last few days of summer vacation.

Even though I’ve barely scratched the surface of Starfield, I can tell how special this game is. Betheseda Game Studios director Todd Howard has talked about the decade-long effort to imagine and realize the vision for an expansive role-playing game set in space.

There’s a debt owed by Bethesda to the developers who created the games Mass Effect and No Man’s Sky, and I’m sure Howard would admit that those role-playing games provided inspiration for what his team delivered with Starfield.

And while the space game from the developers of Fallout and the Elder Scrolls franchises is very much like those other games, it is more ambitious than anything the studio has created before. Exactly as Howard promised.

The game begins innocuously enough. You are working with a bunch of miners pulling resources out of some planet, and when you touch an artifact you’ve been sent to retrieve you have a vision of sorts.

Thus begins your association with Constellation, a group of explorers in the grand old sense of the term, who are seeking knowledge and adventure in the reaches of the galaxy.

Along the way you’ll have numerous opportunities to play Starfield the way you want to play. Fast or slow, aggressive or passive, overt or sneaky. If you’ve played a Bethesda game before, the systems you’ll use to upgrade your ship, your equipment, your abilities, and your crew will be familiar.

But the range of options in Starfield are mind-boggling. Even after only a couple of hours, the games that my kids and I are playing are remarkably different.

And people who have sunk dozens of hours into the game and have finished the main quest are talking about how “new game plus” provides an extended experience unlike anything in a game before.

It’s tantalizing enough to want to rush through the story so I can get to the secret everyone else is already playing.

But Bethesda games are role-playing games, and the best way to play them is to role play. After coming up with a look for your character and picking your backstory, figuring out what skills you want to exploit, you’ll also know who your character is and what they value. They’ll tell you how you should play the game.

There will be ups and downs, as there always is. But the journey will be unmatched. And you’ll be better for having experienced it.

Starfield is available now for Windows and Xbox Series X/S.

Two console games are being released on Mac computers with Apple silicon chips

For the past couple of years, Apple has been promoting the Mac platform as a place for gaming. So much so that the company has created guides to help developers port their titles to computers built with Apple silicon.

The Medium, available now, is a recent addition. I reviewed the game in 2021 and appreciated its split-screen approach and psychological thrills.

Lies of P is also coming to Mac computers running on Apple silicon. Being released on September 19, this is a dark version of the Pinocchio story in which you can swap out parts of the protagonist who is, after all, a puppet.

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Categories Consumer technology |

Manta rays have inspired a new way to filter microplastics from the water, and Kensington’s got two docks to make it easier to survive in the modern workplace.

New tech promises to better filter microplastics

IFA Berlin is a major consumer electronics convention. It’s on right now and one of the products being talked about is a device that filters microplastics.

The technology being advanced by Cleanr uses “fluid patterns” to suspend and isolate microplastics into a concentrate that can be captured. The company claims the process, inspired by manta rays and basking sharks, is “over 300% more efficient than traditional sieve and crossflow filtering”.

The filter solution can be integrated into washing machines, and some jurisdictions are beginning to require that such filtering systems be included in future appliances.

Ed Yong wrote about how manta rays filtering works in the Atlantic back in 2018.

Kensington’s got two new docks for for modern workers

These days, busy professionals, especially those working in media, often have a laptop as their primary device. It provides the most flexibility, particularly when you might have a different office every day.

The UH1440 mobile dock is perfect for being on the go. it provides additional ports so you can connect to your peripherals or the accessories in your client’s boardroom. Even if they’re still operating with old VGA cables. The mobile dock is small but sturdy; it’s not going to break if it falls out of your bag.

And when you get back to your main desk space, when you want the benefit of the extra, larger monitors, and the connection to additional storage devices, and quick transfer speeds for all of it, the new Thunderbolt dual 4K docking station comes in.

With 13 ports including multiple video and USB connectors, SD and Micro SD card readers, and ethernet, the SD5765 docking station can connect a suitably powered laptop to an 8K monitor, or two 4K monitors. And with pass-through power, you can connect accessories that require power without needing additional adapters and cables.

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Categories Corus Radio Network | Consumer technology

This week on The Shift, Shane Hewitt and I talked about the new Mortal Kombat game, the Bomb Pop campaign in Roblox, new games including First Descendant, Scorn, and Pacific Drive, the EZQuest 10-in-1 USB hub, and the Wi-Fi World Congress in Toronto next month.

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